Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools
Mrs. Connell Named Teacher of the Year
Mrs. Debbie Connell (Teacher of the Year 2010-11)
â€œIf at first you do succeed, try something harder!â€ It was at our sixth grade awards ceremony that Mrs. Connell first shared one of her lifeâ€™s philosophies as she encouraged the achievers to continue to strive. Everyone around her says that this is not simply a mantra of hers - it is truly who she is, her colleagues say.
Mrs. Connell earned her Bachelor of Science degree at East Carolina University and began teaching in Gaston County Schools in l977. After that, her family moved to the Greensboro area, and she taught in Randolph County Schools and at Randolph Tech.
A really big adventure followed that. She, her husband, and her two sons moved to Japan where they lived and worked for the next 12 years. While there, Mrs. Connell acquired certification in Japanese, was a music evangelist, a partner church planter with her husband, and taught English as a Second Language to every grade level from kindergarten through college. She published her first book for college students studying English while living there.
When they returned to the U.S. in l997, Mrs. Connell began teaching in Union County (Sun Valley MS and then Porter Ridge MS) and in the International/Intercultural Outreach Programs at UNC Charlotte. She continued her own education by completing her Master of Arts in Education degree and certification in Academically and Gifted Education. She is the sixth grade AIG language arts teacher and 6th grade language arts chairperson at PRMS.
Among the courses she has taught at UNC Charlotte, one is an educational methodology course for teachers from Japan. For years now, she has been bringing those teachers from Japan to at least 6 schools in our district to observe and co-teach which has established ongoing relationships for our teachers and students with teachers from across the world.
Mrs. Connell, as mentioned above is a published writer of educational materials. She worked for the Humanities Dept. at NC State University to co-write a social studies textbook and wrote the teacherâ€™s teaching helps sections. During this time she also served as the text editor for a novel by J. Kinney.
â€œIf it needs to be done, and I CAN do it, then I will.â€ â€œIf I know enough about the subject, I am GOING to teach it. I just canâ€™t help myself.â€ â€œThatâ€™s Debbie,â€ says her husband of 33 years.
Written by: Samantha Adams
Posted: Dec 01, 2009 by Samantha Adams